Thursday, July 19, 2018
News Roundup

Review: Diary of Anne Frank a play for our times

Iím aware that the story, the book and the stage play The Diary of Anne Frank is supposed to be uplifting, a ray of sunshine in the otherwise dark world of Adolph Hitler, his Nazi minions and most of the people living in the Axis Powers countries who knew full well what was going on. After all, the teenaged Anne is bright, spunky and full of optimism, even as her family and their friends hide in a cramped attic in Amsterdam to escape the death camps during World War II.

Still, itís difficult to feel uplifted when we are aware that, in the end, seven of the eight will die or be slaughtered in those concentration camps. And itís even more chilling when we recall that a band of our "very fine" fellow American citizens recently marched through Charlottesville, Va., chanting the Nazi rallying cry "Blood and soil" and waiving Nazi flags.

Perhaps that is why it is important to see ó and take our children to see ó The Diary of Anne Frank, the dramatization of the young girlís life in that attic. It is a well-rendered production playing through Feb. 11 at Stage West Community Playhouse, thanks to a great cast, David Stengerís fine direction, Nicole Mooreís compelling light design and Tom Capelleís spot-on sounds.

Itís a stark reminder that even intelligent, well-educated people like the Germans, Italians and other Axis Powers willingly carried out Nazi dictates against innocent people, simply because of their religious beliefs or ethnicity.

Briana Rufino shines as the bubbly 13-year-old Anne. Viewing the attic hideaway as a romantic adventure, she confides to her diary her petty peeves, burgeoning sexual awareness and hopes for the future, even as the days grind into years.

She is matched effectively by the other 11 cast members. Each gives an exceptional performance, including brief appearances by George Freil and Cody Ingle in the thankless roles of Nazi Stormtroopers in the horrifying penultimate scene.

Sam Petricone is rock solid as Anneís father, Otto Frank. He is supportive, rational and a tireless peace-maker among the sometimes contentious attic residents. Petricone highlights Otto Frankís soothing ways when he steps in to console his frazzled wife, Edith (an excellent Jennifer Vilardi), when she seems to give up the struggle. Or when he calms down the contentious Mr. Dussel (Ernie Rowland, superior, as usual) or defends the shallow, selfish Mr. Van Daan (a super Jim Hansen) against the other residents.

Kathleen Morgan is exceptional as the formerly pampered and spoiled Mrs. Van Daan. Her long fur coat (thanks to costumer Kathleen Morgan for this convincing detail) signifies her standing. But Morgan makes this socialite warm and real as she bustles about the bare-bones kitchen and makes meals almost out of thin air, cleans the table and calls her husband to task.

Chay Nott is darling as the gangly, unsure teen Peter Van Daan, edging his way toward maturity as his relationship with Anne blossoms.

Angela Gluchowski glows as Anneís ailing sister Margot, whose quiet, self-control is a stark contrast to the lively Anne. Cheryl Roberts and Keith Surplus are splendid as the attack groupís protectors, Miep Gies and Mr. Kraler, giving encouragement and sustenance as long as they can.

The Diary of Anne Frank is less than two hours long, including intermission, and is absorbing from the first scene to the last. The play reveals Anneís most famous line, "I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart," as either bright optimism, or in hindsight, as bleak irony.

Comments
Rex Culpepper returns as Syracuseís latest cancer conqueror

Rex Culpepper returns as Syracuseís latest cancer conqueror

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Initially, Syracuse senior Eric Dungey thought it was a joke in poor taste. He had come to accept fellow quarterback Rex Culpepper as a prankster of sorts, but a crack about cancer? C'mon."I was like, 'You took this one t...
Updated: 2 minutes ago
Quarterback rankings: The best seasons in Buccaneers history

Quarterback rankings: The best seasons in Buccaneers history

It was Dec. 20, 1981, the final Sunday of the NFL regular season, and the NFC Central title was on the line. The Buccaneers were in Detroit, where the Lions hadn’t lost all season.The Lions, who were favored by a touchdown, took a 7-3 lead in t...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
State Rep. Janet Cruz calls to cut off state ties with SunPass contractor, waive toll fees

State Rep. Janet Cruz calls to cut off state ties with SunPass contractor, waive toll fees

TAMPA - State Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, says sheís fed up with Floridaís problems with the SunPass tolling system that have persisted since early June.Sheís asking the state to address what she referred to as the "gigantic racket" with the following ...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
St. Petersburg beef company recalls more than 6,000 pounds of meat

St. Petersburg beef company recalls more than 6,000 pounds of meat

ST. PETERSBURG ó A St. Petersburg wholesale meat retailer is recalling more than 6,000 pounds of fresh and frozen beef because of possible E. coli contamination, the USDA said Thursday.Five products produced by the St. Petersburg-based Ottomanelli Wh...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Deputies: 18-year-old woman injured in Dunedin shooting is pregnant

Deputies: 18-year-old woman injured in Dunedin shooting is pregnant

DUNEDIN ó A woman shot this week by a masked intruder is 20 weeks pregnant, the Sheriffís Office said Thursday.Naomi Rosado, 18, is in intensive care at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg. The condition of her baby is unknown, the agency said.At about 1 ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Willie Taggart, Auggie Sanchez reuniting in Tallahassee

Willie Taggart, Auggie Sanchez reuniting in Tallahassee

In a previous life, Auggie Sanchez was a disillusioned USF fullback pondering a transfer.Willie Taggart talked him into staying, obliging his desire to move to defense. A half-decade and 388 tackles later, Taggart is trying to help shape the trajecto...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Three trips in one on a whirlwind tour of Ecuador

Three trips in one on a whirlwind tour of Ecuador

"Why Ecuador?" I was asked that at least a dozen times when I told folks I had booked a short trip to the South American country. At the time, the answer was that my husband, who has an Indian passport, didn’t need a visa to visit Ecuador and...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Top 5 at noon: Body of missing diver recovered from underwater cave in Hernando; Bill Nelson gets it from both sides on Donald Trumpís SCOTUS nominee; and more

Top 5 at noon: Body of missing diver recovered from underwater cave in Hernando; Bill Nelson gets it from both sides on Donald Trumpís SCOTUS nominee; and more

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com:BODY OF MISSING DIVER RECOVERED FROM EAGLEíS NEST UNDERWATER CAVERescue crews have located the body of a 20-year-old free diver who failed to resurface at a dangerous cave in Hernando County,...
Updated: 2 hours ago
This week in savings: Best Tampa Bay grocery deals for July 18 - 25

This week in savings: Best Tampa Bay grocery deals for July 18 - 25

Itís a regular occurrence for me: Once a week, Iíll take out all the ads that have been mailed to my house and spread them across my tiny glass table.I grab my scissors for any coupons. Pull up any apps for stores whose ads I didnít get and laugh at ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
We asked readers for tips on how to cut down on plastics. Here are 24 ideas they gave us.

We asked readers for tips on how to cut down on plastics. Here are 24 ideas they gave us.

Many of you are passionate about how to cut down on disposable plastics. You lit up our inbox with suggestions that ranged from the everyday ó use cloth shopping bags ó to the cosmic ó get SpaceX founder Elon Musk to build a space ship capable of dep...
Updated: 2 hours ago